Air Quality

Published on March 2nd, 2014 | by Zachary Shahan


2 Key Slides On Why Electric Cars Make A Ton Of Sense

March 2nd, 2014 by  

As I stated in a previous article referencing his presentation, Francisco Carranza Sierra, Manager of Corporate Planning at Nissan Europe, gave probably the best presentation I saw at EVS27 in Barcelona in November. There were some complications getting his slides, but I received them this week and wanted to share three of the slides with you—two below and another in a coming post.

First, let’s look at something everyone is aware of but that still doesn’t get enough attention: hundreds of millions of people (wait… probably billions of people) have health problems related to air pollution. In Europe alone, about 40 million people (myself included, for sure) are exposed to “damaging” levels of air pollution. That’s something we have somehow come to accept. Why? It cuts our lives short and worsens our quality of life. If an invading country were causing the same damage to us, we’d be pouring billions or even trillions of dollars into a war to defeat it. Kudos to Francisco for bringing this up and speaking about it eloquently at EVS27.

health costs of pollution

Second is one that gets even less attention. We spend a massive amount of money every year (or even every day) on oil. (Update: I’m trying to clarify exactly what the country figures in the chart below represent. I will update this paragraph once I receive details on that.)

eur oil expensese per day

It’s incomprehensible. And so are the tremendous savings that would come from a shift to electric transport. Furthermore, if that electricity is generated by renewable energy sources, the net economic benefits for these countries would be transformational.

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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the typed word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession, Solar Love, and Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in.

  • Al

    Hi Zach,

    Please see below a suggested article to write about Tesla:
    What a Tesla success will mean for you and me, the 99%.

    A success story of Tesla will mean:
    -you will save an average $xx per year on fuel( how much americans are spending/year of refueling cars)
    -you can travel all around North America, Europe and soon China for free in your car
    -cleaner air, you can now go jogging along the highway , without having to inhale all the exhaust toxic fumes released by gasoline cars
    -the best benefit for the world:the battery Gigafactory which means scaling up batteries, and like anything else which is scaled(see Swanson effect, More’s law etc), the price will dramatically drop, meaning an affordable battery storage for your Home Solar system,meaning a global energy revolution, which will certainly help stop the global worming
    My projection is that by 2017, when the Gigafactory comes to life, the cost of Tesla’s batteries will be halfed, of the today’s cost, due to doubling today’s production.
    If all goes well, Musk will build another factory by 2020 to supply the world’s demand for batteries, which in turn could half again the price of the batteries due to the scale of production.
    So by 2020, the cost of batteries will be a fourth of today’s costs, not to mention other unpredicted synergies that may come to life in the meantime, due to R&D higher expenditure.

  • Kyle Field

    I have difficulty wrapping my pea brain around these scaled figures. For instance, if everyone in (pick a country) Germany started driving an EV tomorrow, what would be the financial impact at the country level? What additional electric generating capacity would be needed to support that? What does the future pricing of electricity look like when it’s directly tied to transportation?

    Unfortunately (or maybe not), we know that’s not going to happen tomorrow, but gradually over time so we can adjust and grow/adapt the grid to accomodate EVs through renewable generation, efficiency in using existing generation etc. Just some of the questions my mind runs through I guess…

    • Bob_Wallace

      Let me pick the US rather than Germany since I’m familiar with the data for the US.

      Right now the US grids could support 70% of all cars and light trucks were they turned into EVs over night. We have enough off-peak capacity and transmission to charge 70% of what we now drive.

      The present price of electricity would not likely increase. As we go forward the price of electricity would likely drop. A lot of EVs charging at night would mean a larger market for onshore wind.

      Larger market = more profits = more investment = more wind farms built = more cheap wind available during peak demand hours. Cheap wind during peak hours reduces the need to purchase more expensive supply.

      Overall impact on the economy? Assuming that EVs paid a road use tax equal to what the government takes in with fuel taxes there certainly would be no decrease. Given that we could halt all fuel imports that would help the balance of trade. And since lower pollution levels would improve health, cut health care costs that would be a positive. And we would have to pay for no more oil wars.

      • Kyle Field

        Thanks for that. Definitely helps me to wrap my mind around scaled options. 🙂

        • Bob_Wallace

          Let’s throw some more numbers into the mix.

          The average daily mileage in the US is 36. A typical EV uses 0.3 kWh per mile so 10.7 kWh per day.

          Given an average of 4.5 solar hours per day (middle part of the country) we’d need to install about 2.5 kW of solar to power the average car.

          The price of installed solar panels is reaching $2/watt (utility scale) so $5,000 worth of installed panels would provide 40+ years of charging. (Perhaps a thou or two might be needed along the way to replace inverters and add a few more panels.)

          That’s a pretty low investment for 40 years of driving. If one was driving a 50 MPG gasmobile and using $4/gallon fuel they would spend over $5,000 in only five years.

          As the price of installed solar continues to fall (Italy is installing for $1.3/watt, China for $1/watt) the cost of charging will get silly low.

          What this means for the economy, I think, is that more money will stay in consumers’ pockets with less going to ‘big oil’. That money will get spent largely at the local level and will boost the economy.

          • tmac1



    I did some research of my own and those numbers in the picture are definitely a year values. If it would be a daily values, it would be usually about 10x bigger than those countries’ GDP.

  • My apologies for the rushed paragraph on oil expenditures. Corrected.

    • However, trying to do a little number checking, I’m not coming up with the same figures. I’m coming up with very different numbers entirely. I’ve emailed my Nissan contact for clarification.

  • Leafboi

    The daily use graph clearly states at the top of the slide ‘1 Billion EUR of oil expenses per day’. So it is clearly an annual figure for each country break down. Simple typo from Zac.

  • jburt56

    The same money would build at least 500 MWp of solar per day.

  • Ross

    It looks like something is wrong with the captioning of that oil expenses per day graph. e.g. Ireland imports €6.5 billion per year of all fossil fuels -> €18 million per day.

  • Will E

    The masses of the people do not want to change. they enjoy crisis rather than change.
    People look like brainwashed for fossil burning. Are we a burning homo sapiens, in our genes?
    Is transferring to an electric homo sapiens therefore so difficult?

    Could you give some more info about daily expenses of oil per day.
    when it suits you. The charts are difficult to read.
    Where does it come from, where does it go to?
    I cannot find any data on the net on this.

    I cannot believe that the Netherlands have a Euro 7,96 bn daily expenses on oil.
    cannot be true.

    • Ronald Brakels

      Netherlands uses about a milion barrels of oil a day which comes to about one hundred million dollars. Even if that was all sold as petrol and diesel it would still only come to roughly half a billion Euros a day. Now maybe they are including costs of pollution and so on in there, but if so they really need to make it clear because without that information the graphic is pretty useless.

      By the way, the Netherlands’ oil imports come mainly from Russia, Nigeria, the UK, Saudi Arabia, and Norway.

    • JamesWimberley

      I suspect you are right tin the Netherlands. Petroleum consumption was 1,016,450 barrels a day in 2012 (source: EIA, At $100 a barrel that makes $100m a day. Double that for refining and marketing, and double again for tax, and you are still well shy of half a billion a day.

    • No way

      The country numbers must be for a full year for petrol/diesel used to cars (which EV’s would replace)… Not daily nor for all of the oil bought and used in that country.
      And if you add the numbers for the countries up it’s about €200 billion or something like that which isn’t a full €1 billion per day but at least more than half a billion per day.
      4,5 billion euros for Sweden… that’s almost what is used anually for health care here. So impossible for us to spend that per day on oil…

      4,5 million cars * 1500 liters per car anually * 0,66 €/liter = 4,5 billion euros.

  • wattleberry

    Some of these charts are getting very difficult to read-or is it just me?

    • JamesWimberley

      Try clicking on the image in the main post. The version that pops up is usually clearer, not just here – it seem to be a feature, or bug, in HTML..

      • wattleberry

        Thanks, James; it worked and even tolerated some necessary enlargement. It was clear enough to show the base of some of the figures was chopped off on that particular chart!

        • Yes, that’s how they came through on the PDF i was sent. Sorry. But I think all the figures are decipherable. And, yes, can’t do much about the quality within the articles, but clicking on the images generally helps.

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